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THE BULL-HEADED PREMIER                    95

force the loans on the people and report a great success. The govern-
ment preferred to lend money to the rich for better guarantees, but
the rich were not in particular need of money. Some poor people were
in need of money, but the government had to have guarantees of their
ability to repay. Some of the commissioners therefore devised a system
of allocating the loans to the people according to their financial stand-
ing, down to the poorest farmers. But the poor can be too poor to
borrow; only the rich can borrow money, which is the essence of sound
modern banking and finance. To make sure that the loans were, re-
paid, the government made their richer neighbours stand guarantors
for the poor. One of the commissioners reported that the people "cried
for joy" when they were offered the loans. Another commissioner, who
was not willing to force the measure on the people, came back with a
different report. Censors impeached the successful commissioner for
"forcing" the loans on the people, which was clearly against the inten-
tion of the original edict. Wang Anshih went to the censorate office
and said to the officials: "What are you people trying to do? You
impeach one commissioner who is energetic in carrying out the
reforms, while you say nothing of the other who is slack in his

Han Chi, who was serving at Tamingfu as governor of Hopei, had
seen how the loan plan worked in the country, and he submitted a .
memorial which gives the best picture of how the loans were being
' distributed. In contrast to Su Turigpo's vehement outburst, here was
a well-considered and well-worded, matter-of-fact report to the Em-
peror by a retired premier who had served the country in the highest
capacities. In the paper he said that even the poor people of the lowest
class were assigned a denomination, while the richer classes were asked
to subscribe more. The so-called farmers' loans were also enforced
among the city people and were sold among the landlords and
"monopolist exploiters" whom it was the intention of the new measure
to supplant and suppress; the loans were, therefore, defeating their own
purpose. For every dollar borrowed, the people had to pay back $1.30
after a few months. However energetically the government denied
that it was lending money for profit, people would not believe it. Han
pointed out that it was impracticable to prevent the forcing of loans and
depend on voluntary subscription, for the rich would not borrow and
the poor, who would, could not offer guarantees; therefore, in time, it
would be necessary to make the guarantors pay for the loans. And
since the high commissioners were anxious to please the authorities at
the court, while the lower officials dared not speak up, so Han said,*
he found it incumbent upon him as an old faithful servant of the court
to bring the facts to the Emperor's attention. He asked for the suspen-
sion of the new measure, the recall of the tax commissioners, and the